BBC Panorama: fact and fiction about Tower Hamlets Council
‘Tower Hamlets only funds Bangladeshi groups’.
The council does not profile organisations by race or ethnicity because third sector organisations benefit the whole community. Even using Ware’s definition of “Bengali and Somali “organisations, figures held by the council show that these communities, which together make up 33 per cent of the borough’s population received £1.6m in grants or around 16 per cent of the total pot of £9.7m. Out of a total of over £27 million given to community groups between 2008- 2013, Bangladeshi organisations have received £2.2 million or 8% of the total. The Bangladeshi community comprise over 32% of the borough’s population.
‘The Mayor makes decisions behind closed doors’
The Mainstream Grants Programme 2013 to 2015 went to:
4 Cabinet meetings
3 Corporate Third Sector Grants Programme Board
2 Overview and Scrutiny Meetings
1 Mayoral Decision
All decisions about council spending go through a series of checks and balances that involve council officers and elected committees with councillors of all parties.
‘The Mayor overruled council officer’s decisions to about community grants’
The Mayor is completely within his rights to overrule council officers if he feels public money is not being best spent. As someone who has been politically active in the borough all his life he can legitimately claim to have strong local knowledge.
The Mayor’s is ‘buying votes’
It is an insult to the intelligence of our residents to suggest that just because the Mayor funds an elderly group get together or a community group event that their votes can be bought.